WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The United States said Friday it has told Japan that its broad goals for a trans-Pacific free-trade accord “exceed” those Washington has pursued in previous FTAs, signaling that Tokyo must make an unprecedented effort to eliminate all tariffs.

The remarks came during two days of bilateral talks that ended Friday on Tokyo’s possible participation in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The United States also gave Japan an update on the TPP process, and the two sides agreed to continue to consult as appropriate and necessary, U.S. officials said, adding that no specific plans for followup meetings were made.

The United States also explained its approach under past free-trade pacts to illustrate its ambitions regarding some of the key issues, including market access and services, they said.

During the working-level talks in Washington, the Japanese side explained that Tokyo is crafting a basic policy on the multilateral talks.

The TPP, which is being negotiated by nine countries, including major agricultural exporters Australia and the United States, is aimed at requiring members in principle to reduce all tariffs to zero within 10 years.

Japan decided in November to start consultations with the nine to judge whether it should join the TPP talks. Any country that wants to join the negotiations must obtain the consent of all nine countries through bilateral talks.

The TPP talks were held as part of the Japan-U.S. Trade Forum, where the U.S. called on Japan to provide greater market access for such products as rice, beef and automobiles, officials of the two countries said.

The United States also sought assurances that a level playing field would be provided to U.S. firms in regard to the planned privatization of Japan Post, the officials said.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.